WASHINGTON (AP) - Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani emerged as the favorite to serve as secretary of state in Donald Trump's incoming administration, a senior Trump official said as the president-elect narrowed down his Cabinet picks.
The official said there was no real competition for the job and that it was Giuliani's if he wanted it. The official was not authorized to speak on the record and requested anonymity.
Giuliani, a top Trump adviser, said Monday night at a Washington event sponsored by the Wall Street Journal that he "won't be attorney general" in Trump's administration — a job for which the former federal prosecutor had been seen as a top contender even before Trump's election.
Giuliani said he thought John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, "would be a very good choice" for secretary of state. But asked if there was anyone better, he replied with a mischievous smile: "Maybe me, I don't know."
Trump was also considering Monday whether to inject new diversity into the GOP by recommending a woman to lead the Republican Party and an openly gay man to represent the United States at the United Nations.
The moves, among dozens under consideration from his transition team, follow an intense and extended backlash from Trump's decision on Sunday to appoint Steve Bannon, a man celebrated by the white nationalist movement, to serve as his chief strategist and senior adviser.
"After winning the presidency but losing the popular vote, President-elect Trump must try to bring Americans together — not continue to fan the flames of division and bigotry," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. She called Bannon's appointment "an alarming signal" that Trump "remains committed to the hateful and divisive vision that defined his campaign."
His inauguration just 66 days away, however, Trump focused on building his team and speaking to foreign leaders. He remained sequestered in Trump Tower in New York.
Inexperienced on the international stage, the Republican president-elect spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone. His transition office said in a readout that "he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia." Trump has spoken in recent days with the leaders of China, Mexico, South Korea and Canada.
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